A couple years ago we had the opportunity to live in Alaska, just outside of Anchorage. We were living in a valley surrounded by mountains. I had a standing appointment every Friday to go and hike up a ridgeline or a peak. The view down the other side was usually incredible with it’s own set of trails, different terrain and view.
The picture above is from my balcony window of the apartment and city we just moved to last week. The mountain you see is just one in a series of mountains that create the north and south borders of the city. A panoramic shows how incredibly beautiful it really is. I can’t wait to get out of the city to backpack and hike.
I watched a documentary a month or so ago about photographer Sebastiao Salgado. The photography and cinematography was incredible. He made a comment that has stuck with me since then. He said, “behind each mountain there’s a story, there’s something to see.”
Like I mentioned earlier, we just moved to this city and country a week ago. We left the country we had been living in for ten years, and the city for the past five, to come here and develop leaders. Pretty exciting. But, with another language to learn, new friendships to form not to mention the basics of learning a new city, new culture, where to buy milk…it can seem daunting. It can, and at times does, feel like a massive mountain to scale. I love backpacking, but there are often times when I’m on the trail, look up towards the summit or pass I’m aiming for and have a moment of “oh, wow, that’s going to take some time and energy to get to…am I up for it?”
Then I fall into a rhythm, the excitement of what lies ahead and the knowledge that there will be a feeling of accomplishment at the top kick in, and I just go for it. The mountain I am looking at ahead of me is challenging. I have an idea of what we’re in for based on the last ten years and it won’t be all fun. But, behind that mountain there is a new view, a new story to hear and allow to unfold. Even the road to get there will have it’s own story. But, that’s what it is all about, right? The tears of joy and pain, the hardships and perseverance learned, the relationships formed and forged are worth it. It does take courage to climb the mountain of whatever you’re facing. But, behind the mountain lies a new valley, peak, forest and view.
Leading others in the midst of this is difficult, but it’s also a tremendous privilege. They get to see you as a human being who is honest about what they are facing. They get to see a real person that they can connect with…and follow. Honesty and openness while leading, especially uphill, are things that need to be modeled to those in our sphere of influence and those we are leading. It’s something that can only be learned by watching. That is an incredible lesson to learn.
And continue learning for a lifetime.